Yesterday evening I saw the Grandfather of a 5 year old boy slapping another 6 year old boy in the play area of our gated society. Reason: ‘The 6 year old boy who was cycling at the edges of the pavement accidentally bumped into the old man’s grandchild.’
Did his grandchild get hurt: NO! He did not get physically hurt!
Did the other child get hurt: YES, the one cycling got hurt both physically due to a tight slap from the old man as well as emotionally due to the man’s impulsive reaction to the boy’s mistake.
Is this kind of behaviour acceptable for child rearing?
How else could the old man have handled the situation? Could he have not spoken with the cyclist, told him to be more careful or spoken with his mother about it, who was just a few steps away. However, without giving the situation any thought, he chose to react instinctively.
What happens when the parents or guardians of a child lack self-control?
Lack of impulse control on the part of the parents or guardians could lead to the following deleterious effects:
• Kids display high impulsivity
• Kids are low on resilience
• They dispose high levels of insecurity
• Have an unhappy disposition
• Low on self-reliance
• Low on self-control
The A-B-C-D-E of Parental/Guardian self-control
• A-Awareness of feelings like irritability, anger, frustration rather than Accusation
This was important in the case of the Grandparent as he accused the cyclist rather than being aware of his own impulsivity.
• B-Breathe deep to take control of feelings
When angry, a person breathes faster. Taking charge of one’s breath by paying attention to it could have helped him calm down.
• C-Coaching the child while he’s at fault is imperative rather than being a Cop to him.
If he had slowed down to talk to the child and described the consequences of problem behaviour, the child’s mental agony would have been lesser as compared to having been subject to punishment.
• D-Discuss the problem behaviour rather than blindly disagreeing.
Discussion enables an opportunity for self-explanation and induces high level of trust in the child. This enables making a stronger impact on the child. The child could have had one additional trusted adult in his neighbourhood, had the man made an effort.
• E-Emotional-regulation is the key to providing the kids with an opportunity to model self-controlled behaviour.
The child may have regulated his emotional outburst and fit of crying had the man regulated his frustration and dealt empathetically with the child.
After all with little bit of regulation, it becomes easier to raise strong, independent children than to rectify crooked and broken adults!